The untold story of how the 9/11 Commission overcame partisanship and bureaucracy to produce its acclaimed report.
From the beginning, the 9/11 Commission found itself facing obstacles — the Bush administration blocked its existence for months, the first co-chairs resigned right away, the budget was limited, and a polarized Washington was suspicious of its every request. Yet despite these long odds, the Commission produced a bestselling report unanimously hailed for its objectivity, along with a set of recommendations that led to the most significant reform of America’s national security agencies in decades. This is a riveting insider’s account of Washington at its worst — and its best.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Without Precedent|
|Release Date: 08-15-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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SET UP TO FAIL
[E]xamine and report upon the facts and causes relating to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurring at the World Trade Center in New York, New York, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon in Virginia.
— From Public Law 107-306, signed by President George W. Bush, November 27, 2002
We were set up to fail. The thought occurred to both of us as we prepared to meet for the first time on a cold day just before the Christmas season of 2002. The full 9/11 Commission would not meet for another month; this meeting would be just the two of us.
A thicket of political controversy lay ahead. The legislation creating the commission had been signed into law by President George W. Bush, after extended wrangling between Congress and the White House through the heated and often bitter midterm elections of 2002. We were scheduled to issue our final report in May 2004, just as the presidential election would be approaching full boil.
We had an exceedingly broad mandate. The legislation creating the commission instructed us to examine
(i) intelligence agencies; (ii) law enforcement agencies; (iii) diplomacy; (iv) immigration, nonimmigrant visas, and border control; (v) the flow of assets to terrorist organizations; (vi) commercial aviation; (vii) the role of congressional oversight and resources allocation; and (viii) other areas of the public and private sectors determined relevant by the Commission for its inquiry.
In other words, our inquiry would stretch across the entire U.S. government, and even into the private sector, in an attempt